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Costa Rica creates 2014 World Cup history

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

RECIFE, Brazil - Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas claimed man-of-the match honours as his side sank Greece in a penalty shoot-out to reach the World Cup quarter finals for the first time and a clash with the Netherlands.

Reduced to 10 men in the second half, Costa Rica still seemed to be on course for an upset victory until Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored an injury-time equaliser to force extra time.

Navas, who had blocked a string of shots in the game, was equally impressive in the two 15-minute periods of extra time before he pulled off a superb one-handed save to deny Theofanis Gekas' spot kick during the penalty shoot-out.

Costa Rica went on to secure a 5-3 victory to keep the central Americans' World Cup dream alive.

"To everyone back home and out on the streets — this is for you," said Costa Rica's manager Jorge Luis Pinto.

"The people love football and they deserve this. We're ambitious, we want to grow and develop and God willing we will go on in this tournament."

Captain Bryan Ruiz scored in the 52nd minute to give the central Americans a 1-0 lead at Arena Pernambuco.

But defender Oscar Duarte was ordered off for a second bookable offence shortly after and Greece poured forward looking for an equaliser.

They provided the late drama when Papastathopoulos pounced on the rebound from Gekas's strike in the first minute of stoppage time to slam it past Navas.

But it was the only shot the Costa Rica goalkeeper missed all night and he was overwhelmingly voted man of the match.

Greece spurned several chances to win the game in extra time against the tiring Costa Ricans. Those misses proved costly for Fernando Santos's men in the penalty shoot-out.

With Costa Rica leading 4-3 after Joel Campbell rolled the ball past Orestis Karnezis, Gekas saw his chance to pull the Greeks level pushed away by Navas.

Costa Rica secured their first ever appearance in the last eight on what is only their fourth finals appearance when Michael Umana stepped up to beat Karnezis from the spot.

"In extra time we didn't capitalise as we should have," lamented Greece coach Fernando Santos.

"We played like it was the last minute of the game when we had 30 minutes in front of us.

"But Navas played a key role for them. He stopped three or four goalscoring chances and was then decisive at the shoot-out.

"If it wasn't for him the result would have been different story."

The Costa Ricans claimed another European scalp with yesterday's win, having beaten Italy 1-0 and drawn with England 0-0 in Group D.





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